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    Fr. Joseph Jenkins

  • The blog header depicts an important and yet mis-understood New Testament scene, Jesus flogging the money-changers out of the temple. I selected it because the faith that gives us consolation can also make us very uncomfortable. Both Divine Mercy and Divine Justice meet in Jesus. Priests are ministers of reconciliation, but never at the cost of truth. In or out of season, we must be courageous in preaching and living out the Gospel of Life. The title of my blog is a play on words, not Flogger Priest but Blogger Priest.

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C. S. Lewis & Transubstantiation

Cynthia G writes:

Concerning CS Lewis, Father, I read that he was contemplating joining the Catholic Church when he died, and he never wrote anything about having a problem with Mary, although in one of his books, The Great Divorce, I think, he said that he couldn’t “get” the concept of transubstantiation.

Father Joe responds:

The issue about transubstantiation comes up in his Letters to Malcolm, my least favorite of his works. He personally found the Aristotelian distinction between substance and accidents difficult to grasp. I suppose it sounded too cold for him and removed from the perception of the apostles, although he admits it is unclear how they conceptualized the Eucharist. Lewis certainly believes that there is something significant about the Eucharist, far removed from a mere empty symbolism. He thinks of the veil being the thinnest in its regard. I suppose one might say that he preferred a mystical awareness, one probably better befitting his literary approach. Critics remark that it represented a divide with Tolkien. However, it should be noted, that Lewis was an Anglican. While many of his views are very Catholic, it remains that Anglican orders had been declared null-and-void by Catholicism. If there is no valid priest then there is no genuine Eucharist or REAL PRESENCE. The stumbling block might have been this objective reality. The Anglican Eucharist feigned being something that it was not. A man with a sensitive soul about such things might on some level, even if unconscious, register this shortcoming.

It reminds me of a Catholic friend who used to delight in his visits to the area of first going to the Episcopalian Washington Cathedral and afterwards to the Catholic Shrine of the Immaculate Conception. When I asked about it his response was both rude and funny. He said he went to the Cathedral to experience the gothic beauty and the REAL ABSENCE. Then he went to the Shrine with its many conflicting styles so as to encounter the REAL PRESENCE.

Argument Over Jesus & Intercession

Georgios argues:

The primary role and purpose of the devil is to take the believer’s attention as far away as possible from the truth and the blue-prints or foundations of Christians, which is the Bible.

He would have us compromise them with unbiblical diatribes so that the believer loses focus upon JESUS.

He would have the Christian weakened by diminution from 100% fidelity to the doctrine of JESUS.

JESUS is the Way and the Truth and the Life— the only way toward the Father-God.

JESUS taught with parables and he is our answer to all intentions in the spiritual process.

The parable of the sinful rich man and poor Lazarus is sufficient to verify that the saints who died are in a place where intercession for people on earth is impossible! What this means is that only the living saints have the right to do so.

God does not give exemptions to the prohibition of acting outside his Word, which is JESUS.

If Mary can intercede for us, then God is lacks constancy with his Word and that is something that God will not do. He will not oppose his Word. If God made such exceptions then he would not be God at all.

Receive this revelation of the Spirit of God— what he is saying to you Now in the mighty NAME OF JESUS!

Father Joe responds:

The devil’s primary aim is one of eternal spite. He would have us corrupted so as to offend God. He would have us embrace selfishness and a disordered love.

The devil knows well the Bible. The trouble is that what he knows, he utterly rejects. While the devil is certainly involved with error, this in itself is not his primary purpose. Good men and women might be confused or ignorant about many matters of faith. They may yet be saved. The devil places an emphasis upon the will. HE especially delights in one who comes close to the truth and then rejects it. The more you know the more that you will be held accountable.

Much of the confusion and fracturing of the Church after the Reformation has to do with men and a rejection of the shepherds appointed by Christ. You seem to infer that the Bible is self-sustaining and interpreting. This is simply not the case— historically or theologically. I suspect that the “diatribes” you condemn are efforts within the Church to prayerfully reflect upon the saving kerygma.

If you have rejected the sacraments and the teachings of the Catholic faith then you have quite literally separated yourself from elements of the revelation received from Jesus Christ. The Church follows the Lord and his two sources for Christian revelation: Sacred Scripture and Sacred Tradition. Only the reformation churches, and not all of them, would utterly reject the second tier established by Christ.

Jesus is also one with the Mystical Body or the Church. That is why the early Church spoke about Christ and our life in the Church as the WAY.

Jesus taught in many ways. Yes, his parables give us insight into the kingdom of God. But he also prophesied, made commands, and witnessed the message of the Gospel.

The parable of the rich man and Lazarus does indeed speak to life after death, although there is some question as to whether Lazarus was in heaven or the limbo of the fathers. Similarly, was the rich man in hell or in purgatory? The gates of heaven are only opened by Christ, and at the telling of this parable, Jesus had yet to undergo his saving trial. Further, the parable does not offer us an instance of attempted intercession as understood by the Church. He requests that Abraham send a message to the living or make an appearance to warn them. The intercession of the saints is directed, not to another saint, but to almighty God. We pray that they will add their prayers to ours in asking God for his mercy and favor.

Actually, the trouble here is you have a very narrow notion of how the Word operates. The Word is written upon human flesh in the incarnation. The Word is breathed into the Scriptures. The Word becomes one with his Holy Church. The Word is given perpetual efficacy through the sacraments. The Word takes to himself a human mother, sanctifies her and gives her to us as a model of the Church. The Word conquers death and all who are alive in Christ can pray for themselves and others, including the saints of heaven.

Who are you to tell God his business? Who are you to make yourself the interpreter for all Christianity, including attacking a Church that was instituted by Christ, gave us the Bible and is the Mother of all the breakaway Protestant denominations? Mary can do as she did at Cana… intercede when the wine runs out.

I would caution you again hubris. You are not God’s special messenger or prophet. You are just one poor confused soul putting on airs to others.

Question: Where Do I Find Mary in the Bible?

Laura writes:

Where do I find Mary’s role in the Bible— what Scriptures? I haven’t found them. I hope it’s not made up by the aimless traditions of our fathers. Oh, I did find that we are not to pray to dead— would MARY be any different? Please help me understand.

FATHER JOE:

Do you really want to understand, Laura? Then you need to do a lot more study. Catholicism was preaching the Gospel before we even had a New Testament or a canonical Bible. Sacred Tradition was not a gift that Christ gave the Church and then took away. Similarly, he gave us shepherds who speak in his name and who interpret the truths from the deposit of faith. Not all traditions are aimless, but some have their source in Christ, the apostles and the inspiration of the Holy Spirit. Catholicism speaks of two fonts to revelation: Sacred Tradition and Sacred Scripture. There are Marian teachings that emerge both from the Bible and Tradition. These two elements are not in conflict. Indeed, the New Testament Gospels emerged from the oral tradition. The Bible and the Church forbid seeking two-way communication with the dead as in occult practices. However, we are not forbidden to request their intercession (the saints) or to pray for them (souls in purgatory). Praying for the dead as we see in 2nd Maccabees was within Jewish practice and the Church continued it. Indeed, the mystery of the redemption and resurrection would give it an increased intensity. As for Mary, there are good books available and a number of informative posts at this blog site:

Posts about the Virgin Mary  (click here)

Here are some scripture quotes that refer to the Mother of God.

The devil hates her and he stands against her. Do you?
Genesis 3:15
Revelation 12:17

God makes her the virgin mother.
Isaiah 7:14

Mary is “full of grace,” even prior to the coming of Christ.
Luke 1:26-28

Her presence with Christ in the womb awakened the Spirit in others:
Luke 1:41

The first half of the Hail Mary prayer comes from Scripture.
Luke 1:42

Mary is truly the Mother of God, mother of the whole person of her child.
Luke 1:43

Mary is without sin and calls Christ her Savior even at the annunciation (present tense).
Luke 1:47

Mary will always be called blessed among women.
Luke 1:48

God has miraculously and uniquely intervened in her life.
Luke 1:49

Mary will receive our many prayers. She will suffer much in solidarity with her Son for our sake.
Luke 2:34-35

Mary is the first disciple of her Son, keeping the Word so wondrously that the Word becomes flesh and lives among us.
Luke 11:27-28

Mary is a powerful intercessor with Christ.
John 2:3-5

The Mother of the Redeemer becomes the Mother of all the Redeemed.
John 19:26-27 / Revelation 12:17

Mary and the saints are in communion with Jesus Christ in heaven.
1 Corinthians 6:17

Mary is the new Ark of the Covenant.
Revelation 11:19-12:1

Mary was assumed into heaven as Queen.
Revelation 12:1